Denmark Minks get COVID-19

Denmark Minks affected by mutant strand of COVID-19

Minks getting shipped to Denmark 
Credits: USA Today

Minks getting shipped to Denmark Credits: USA Today

Katherine Conner, Staff Writer/Editor

The United Kingdom has banned traveling to and from Denmark after the country reported an outbreak of a new variant of the virus which caused COVID-19 to spread in minks. The development came days after the Danish government announced its plan to cull the nation’s entire mink population in order to contain the spread. 

According to CNN, there are between 15-17 million minks in Denmark, whereas its human population is around 5.5 million. The government announced the ban on Saturday, Nov. 7, at 4 a.m and stated that travelers from Denmark cannot enter the United Kingdom. British citizens  returning home will be forced to quarantine for two weeks and there will be no exemptions, unlike other quarantine requirements for travelers entering the UK. Danish Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen said Wednesday, the decision to cull the minks had been made with a “heavy heart”, but it was necessary based on health authorities’ recommendations. 

Denmark announced it would cull its entire mink population after they discovered evidence that the disease that causes novel coronavirus had mutated in mink after humans passed it on. The new mutation was also found in humans. The Danish government also announced restrictions for the seven municipalities where the new strain was detected. 

“The virus has mutated in (the) mink. The mutated virus has spread to humans,” Frederiksen said. Statens Serum Institute, the Danish authority based in Copenhagen which deals with infectious diseases, had found five cases of the virus in mink farms and 12 examples in humans that showed reduced sensitivity to antibodies, she said. Allowing the virus to spread could potentially limit the effectiveness of future vaccines. (CNN)

According to the New York Times, the W.H.O acknowledged by email that it has been “informed by Denmark of a number of people who have been infected with Covid-19 from the minks, with some genetic changes in the virus”.  Without published reports on the nature of the mutation or how the virus variant was tested, research scientists outside Denmark who study the virus were left in the dark.

According to the Washington Post, 207 farms were now infected, up from 41 last month. The disease has spread to all of the western peninsula of Jutland. It is estimated that 214 people have gotten the mink strand of Covid-19.